The Messenger February 2015
Stop for a moment and reflect on all of the relationships in your life and the different categories they represent. Family, friends, co-workers, bosses, acquaintances, God, people who serve us at restaurants or businesses, parents, children, grand-children, employees, siblings, neighbors…the list goes on and on. Our relationships are all a gift from God, opportunities for God to bless us in unique ways while encouraging our growth. Our relationships can be incredibly challenging as well as life-giving but the reality is that
they don’t just “happen”, rather, most of us have to work at nurturing the relationships in our lives.
Now take a moment to reflect on the word “stewardship.” In the church, stewardship tends to be a word that we expect to hear about in the fall when we focus on our money, our gifts and our time. It gets mixed up at times with the financial realities of the church and the budget, but really it is one of the most important decisions that we make spiritually. How and what do we give back to God out of the incredible blessings that we have been gifted with? How do we nurture those God-given gifts and blessings?
As disciples, followers of Jesus, I think it’s important for us to keep the idea of stewardship in our minds and hearts throughout the year and not just during the fall. How do we give back to God and how do we nurture the gifts that God has blessed us with? For the next few months, I’d like us to consider the stewardship of relationships. Take all those connections that we reflected on earlier, and ask, how do we intentionally nurture those relationships, or do we? We can begin with our relationship with God. How do we nurture that relationship? Do we devote time to it? Do we tell God what’s on our mind? How does God get our attention? We’ve talked about epiphanies this season and how God shows up in our lives in unexpected ways. So how does God show up in our life? This includes the awe-inspiring wonder types of examples as well as the times that God brings us up short in different ways and helps us see the need to turn back to God. The important thing as we reflect on these questions, is to do it with a sense of wonder and stewardship…how do we get better at nurturing our relationship with God? Not out of a sense of shame or feeling bad about what we haven’t done but as a way to better open ourselves to receive the incredible love that God has for each one of us!
What about the other relationships in our lives? Where are the places that we have some nurturing work to do and how might we reach out to the people in our lives? If we start from the premise that God has brought us together then the question becomes how do we allow ourselves to truly see the other person and hear their story without judgment. We can’t work on our relationships all at once, but perhaps we can focus on one at a time. Take a relationship that has been broken for whatever reason. How might you reach out to that person and be a steward of the gift that God has given you? At the same time, choose someone who has touched you deeply in some way and take the time to let them know how much they mean to you.
The people in our lives, whether a chance meeting on the street, a long-time friend or a sibling are all incredible gifts from God and an opportunity to see the holy in our midst…the spirit in me greets the spirit in you. I’m grateful to be on this journey with each of you at Emmanuel and I look forward to some time to reflect on how to get better at nurturing the relationships in my life. Won’t you join me? Blessings to you and yours!
A new member of our community who recently moved to Coos Bay has found a job and a place to live but is in need of a car to get back and forth to work. If you know of a safe, reliable, and affordable car that might help them to get to work, please let Christy know, Christy@episcopalcoosbay.org.
Notes from Your Vestry: Annual Parish Meeting and Potluck Lunch, 11:15, February 8th – Following the 10:00 Service
This year our Annual Meeting will be held at 11:15 following the 10:00 service and will begin with a potluck. It is our hope that this can be a wonderful gathering of the whole community that celebrates our mutual ministry together. Please bring a potluck item to share and know that nursery and activities for the younger children will be provided. Help celebrate all that we have to be grateful for as a faith community. This is an exciting time filled with promise and we hope you will join us.
If you’re new to Emmanuel you might be asking what happens at the Annual Meeting? It is a time to gather and discuss the state of the parish. We will affirm and accept the budget developed by our Treasurer, Bob Huggins, and approved by the Vestry at their meeting on December 16th. We will also elect 6 new Vestry members, (look for bios of the candidates in the February newsletter) and delegates to convention. We hope to see you there!
As you know, we will be electing new Vestry members coming up soon. Here is a chance for you to get to know some of the members up for Vestry:
Each were asked the following questions:
1. Why do you feel called to serve?
2. What is your vision for the future of Emmanuel?
3. What skills do you bring to lead us toward that vision?
1. Emmanuel Church has been part of my life since childhood. The church family & community has given me much. I’d like to “pay back” that gift by offering my service.
2. I’d like to see our church grow – both in membership and also in striving to make sure our members feel supported and welcome in their worship and church life.
3. I see many of the skills I demonstrated in my career as a teacher and principal having a good fit with the Vestry. I know how to be a team member as well as being able to operate in a leadership role if needed. I bring an ability to act as a catalyst for change and growth if needed. Most importantly, I know how to listen and observe and support fellow team members so that good things get accomplished.
Gene A Svatos
1. Attempt to bring the message to the generations-to remember we are all children of God -Rich or Poor – regardless of their past but help them look at the future-Q2.
2. Will have to submit to all ideas; if away from Tradition, so be it.
3. Being a lifelong member of the Carpenters UNION- held many offices and sat on many arbitrations and contract negotiations-served on Board at Charleston Sanitary-Budget at Charleston Fire
1. I feel like much of my life has been about service to others. My background in social service and education reflects that commitment. I have always volunteered in my community and financially supported (within my limited means) programs to help others. I value being part of the community at Emmanuel Episcopal Church and wish to continue my efforts and service. Vestry would be another way for me to do this.
2. I feel Emmanuel is undergoing transition. My vision would be to help stabilize while promoting growth, so that all feel included as we move forward. Change is often complex and takes time. My vision is for Emmanuel to continue growth as a welcoming church, expanding our contributions to our community and our visibility, and strengthening our worships that renews and engages us all.
3. I am organized, reliable, and get things done. I served on the Vestry in another State many years ago for a 3 year term, and found the experience very valuable. I was also Director of the Sunday School at St. Mark’s as well as volunteered at their pre-school. I have lived in Coos Bay for 30 years now. I work well as part of a team, and am good with implementation. Prayer, worship and sacrament are central in my life.
1. I have become interested in finding ways to serve and support the congregation, more than occupying a pew on Sunday morning. Even though I lack bell-ringing skills, I have enjoying serving as an usher at the 7:30 service for the past few years.
2. As Emmanuel moves forward with a vibrant and approachable sense of purpose, I would like to continue to support that momentum while retaining a strong sense of history and tradition.
3. Along with teaching and student-related duties, I served on School Advisory Councils at the local and regional levels with the Department of Defense Schools in Europe and Turkey. I collaboratively wrote, developed and implemented DODEA curriculum standards, including a curriculum for Project Adventure. From these experiences, I hope to bring a fresh perspective on issues before the Vestry.
1. Would like to be a part of the activities to fulfill our church’s mission.
2. A full house, and being a bigger part of the community needs.
3. An interest in the management of our parish and experience of previous Vestry service.
1. I am a lifelong Episcopalian and have always loved the work of the Lord in this wonderful, inclusive Anglican faith.
2. My vision is to fully support our priest both as an active congregant and a member of the vestry.
3. Being a relative newcomer to Emmanuel, I feel I could work well with the vestry to bring my experience and perhaps some new ideas that acknowledge the long- standing traditions of this church.
1. I am interested in serving on Vestry.
2. To the question of my vision for Emmanuel’s future, I have the following thoughts. We need to grow our congregation , nothing new to that idea, however, I believe that Emmanuel has a new opportunity to accomplish this. Christy will be key to that effort. In the short time that she has been here at Emmanuel she has turned some heads- folks are interested in the message she brings each week-Sermons can put people to sleep- hers don’t-she has a gift. Vestry should be key in helping draw new folks or absent parishioners into the church. Pre- school is an obvious source of young couples who may like to hear the message. I think that has already begun. I believe it’s our best hope.
3. Finally, I have a long perspective of Emmanuel, having been part of the congregation since the early ‘50s, albeit, sometimes more attentive then other times. I remember when the Sunday school rooms were all filled with kids and we had an active youth group(1960’s), I don’t know if we will see that again, but we already have parents bringing their children to a Christian oriented pre- school. Through social gatherings (pancake supper, Christmas pageant, Easter egg hunt?) within the church- we may be able to attract some of these parents to come listen on Sunday. Small steps can make a big difference; however, our new pastor is the key.
1. Each person that comes through the doors of Emmanuel has energy, additive or story that can serve as a catalyst for others to be empowered by, if we are listening and our soil is prepared to nurture it. I have been attempting to listen to children, choir members, those that shake my hand during the peace, friends that empower me with
their fellowship for opportunities to improve my own spirit and hopefully impact others. My heart is open and I believe we have very significant opportunities to serve our membership and all those our ministries touch.
2. A healthy community of caring souls willing to serve. I hope to see a smooth process for folks seeking information, prayer, guidance, fellowship, education, energy, food and belonging to meet with a congregation of Love that yearns to meet the needs of others.
3. I care about our church and its people. My Christian service has taken many forms throughout my life. I have attended churches as small as 25 and as large 2500. From children’s church, to youth choir, building shelves to multipurpose buildings, driving a church van or driving a nail all requires a spirit of willingness and a heart of cooperation.
Youth Group News and Updates:
February 4th: 6:00-7:30
Blessings and Prayers February 18th: 5:30-6:30 Help with “Ashes to Go”
7:00 Ash Wednesday Service
Confirmation: Bishop Michael will be here on April 12th, the Sunday after Easter for his regular visitation. During his time with us he will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation with Reception and the Reaffirmation of our Baptismal Vows. Confirmation is the Episcopal Church’s way for individuals of any age who were baptized as infants to make an adult affirmation of their faith and commitment to their baptismal vows along with the laying on of hands by the Bishop. Reception is the process where people confirmed in another faith tradition can be received into the Episcopal Church and Reaffirmation is the opportunity to reaffirm one’s commitment to their baptismal covenant.
We will be offering classes for those interested sometime during March and April. Please let Christy know if you, or a family member are interested. Over the next couple of weeks we will be attempting to figure out whether a weekly session or a longer retreat type session will work best for the preparation classes. Your ideas about what will work best for you and your family are welcome! Talk to Christy.
2015 Lenten Offering “Steadfast Hope”
A project of the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and developed to help Episcopalians understand the “facts on the ground.”
The Psalmist urges us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” but what does this mean in terms of the on-going Israeli/Palestinian conflict? As Israeli settlements continue to expand and Palestinian human rights continue to be violated, what will it take for the region to find a way to live in peace and security? What role do we as Americans and as Christians play in promoting human dignity, compassion and mercy?
Join us this Lent as we study this issue through the lens of Palestinians yearning for self-determination and freedom from Israeli occupation. This six-week study program will cover the history of the conflict, the current realities of occupation, and steps that we can take to live into our baptismal covenant and “strive for justice and peace, and to respect the dignity of every human being.” It is based on the principles of adult self-learning and will hopefully offer a safe place to educate ourselves about a very difficult situation.
The first and last session of this program will be on Sunday February 15th and March 29th at Emmanuel Episcopal Church and will be led by the Rev. Dick Toll, retired Episcopal priest and retired chair of Friends of Sabeel—North America. These two sessions will be from 1:00-3:30 and will begin with a simple soup and bread lunch.
The middle 4 weeks will follow the material in the booklet Steadfast Hope and will be co-facilitated by a combination of Nancylee Stewart, Pam Chaney, Terrye Laird and The Rev. Christy Close Erskine. Sessions will be offered either on Thursdays from 12:00-2:00, 6:30-8:30pm, or Sunday afternoons from 2-4:00. Times will be determined following sign-ups to make sure they best meet the needs of those who are participating. All sessions will be held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
For more information, please contact the church office at 541-269-5829 or any of the facilitators: Nancylee – firstname.lastname@example.org, Pam- email@example.com, Terrye – firstname.lastname@example.org or Christy@episcopalcoosbay.org . A study guide will be available for participants at a cost of $10.00. Sign-up in the church entryway, the undercroft or by calling the church office. Please join us on this Lenten journey to increase our understanding of a very difficult situation.
In the Occupied West Bank of Palestine, the people in the Christian village of Zebabdeh struggle to hold on to their land and provide opportunity and education for their children. Even though many Christians have left the region, those who remain strive to pass on the traditions of Christian life and community to the next generation. Educate for Hope provides scholarships for children who are members of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Zababdeh, Palestine making it possible for the children to attend the Latin-Patriarch school that is next door to their church. The school provides classes in English and Hebrew to Arabic-speaking children in order to give them a broader foundation in the languages of regional commerce. Funds raised in the Diocese of Oregon will also provide much- needed supplies for St. Matthew’s Sunday School program.
At Emmanuel, we will be doing several different events during Lent and Holy Week to help raise money for Educate for Hope culminating on Good Friday 2015, the traditional time for the church to support the Diocese of Jerusalem. Watch for details. To donate, checks should be made to Emmanuel Episcopal Church with Educate for Hope in the memo line. If you wish to donate online go to the Diocesan website, www.diocese- oregon.org and look for “Educate for Hope.”
Help us provide hope to the children of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Zababdeh, Palestine by providing scholarships for them to attend the Latin-Patriarch School next door to the church!
For The Health of It By Kerry Oxford, Parish Nurse
“In Our Hands” – “In His hands are all the corners of the earth and the strength of the hills is His also.” From Psalm 95.
What single part of the body can reveal the most about our health? It’s our hands. Look at your hands. They tell your life’s story.
A baby’s hands are smooth and unwrinkled. As we age our hands take on their own character, the scars, wrinkles, color, and crooked fingers all tell a story.
Hands that are calloused, hardened, leathery, could belong to someone who has worked hard out-of-doors… maybe a farmer or rancher. A mother’s hands may be soft on the outside and the palms may be hard from years of housework and child care. Hands that are scarred, crooked, and firm could be the hands of an athlete or a machinist. A guitar or violin player will have calluses on the fingertips of one hand.
Farmers, athletes, homemakers, musicians, teachers, children, and the elderly… A nurse’s hands shall care for them all.
What can an examination of your hands say about your health?
1. The color, temperature, and texture of your hands is important. If they are cold and overly dry it could indicate a thyroid or heart or lung disease. If they are white or blue, it could indicate a circulation problem like Raynaud’s syndrome or lung disease from lack of oxygen. Excessive dryness and loss of elasticity in the skin could mean dehydration.
2. What do your fingernails look like? Are they dry, brittle, ridged, or discolored? It could mean lung or heart disease or a nutritional problem.
3. If the fingers are gnarled, swollen and painful it could be gout or arthritis.
4. If your hands have a tremor, it could be a benign essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease, anxiety, or
5. If your hand grips are unequal in strength it could indicate something neurological such as brain injury or
The next time you grip someone’s hand, think about what their story is. Our hands are our lifeline. Look at your hands, what is your story?
“She may be little, but she’s fierce.” William Shakespeare.
“God always has a plan B.”
“I child-proofed my home but they keep coming back.”
An Irish Blessing
May love and laughter light your days and warm your heart and home,
May good and faithful friends be yours wherever you may roam,
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures,
May all life’s passing seasons bring the best to you and yours.
From the desk of Anne Abdy
Well, the semester has started with a bang. More realistically I should say, “the horses have left the starting gate and I am already behind on my reading.” OKAY so I am being flippant but it is going to be a very fast gallop around the track. The class has already started a countdown ending May 1 and we are only in our second week of classes. I have double the amount of assignments and there are so many moving parts (field ￼7 education expectations, exams, online discussion groups assignments) that it is quite dizzying! Hopefully by the time you read this, I will be in a rhythm that works.
Right now, I am focusing on self-care as part of my rule of life. I joined the US Masters Swim Team here on campus. There are actually quite a few of us all of whom are in much better shape than me. But it feels good to move through the water even if it is only for 30 minutes a day.
The drive to my field education site is about one hour. So, I will make a practice of listening to meditative music on the way down at 6:30 am and a Spanish language conversation CD on the way back at noon. I still am involved in the Pastoral Spanish program as I make up the Spanish Eucharist Service bulletins and am reading the Prayers of the People, lessons, and later in the semester, I may even preach! I hope to lead Evening Prayer by the end of my final semester. I am definitely a lot more proficient with reading rather than conversing, thus the CD and one hour of uninterrupted time on the back roads of Alabama and Tennessee.
Boots, my cat, is managing my time away from home pretty well. I am working him up to not seeing me for 6-8 weeks when I am in Africa this summer. I will be in my childhood home town to start out with visiting the churches that my dad was rector of some forty years ago. I also have some paintings that were given to my father back then that I hope to return to the congregations as I believe they need to be back on the African continent and not in a tote in storage. Needless to say, I am excited about the opportunity and will certainly share more as plans are set.
Sewanee can be quite magical when it gets really cold and icy up here on the Cumberland Plateau. This is the picture was taken a week ago of the road headed towards my apartment lined with frozen trees. It got down to 3 degrees that night. Boy, I’d rather have rain than this cold.
Eat a pancake for me on Shrove Tuesday!
P.S. First, I am overwhelmed with the beautiful stole. Do you know if it was/has been blessed? I suspect not because the package was sealed. Just beautiful and a WOW gift. It is one of those gifts that go straight to the heart of the matter and affirms me for what I am doing. So, thank you, thank you! The items are all welcomed, the tea and coffee (plus Starbucks card!) are all awesome. Most people think the SF chocolate has no sugar but the diet has less…so the brand is what I use – lowest number of carbs! Since the NP here at the health center was useless with regards to managing diabetes, I decided to go to an endocrinologist because after all I had never seen one in 16 years of living with diabetes. She put me on a 40 carb/meal and 5 carbs/snack so the hot chocolate hits the spot, the popcorn will have to be portioned out but that is okay. I have behaved myself and have lost over 20 lbs. in the last month too. Boots, thanks you for the kitty treats! I am actually out and so this arrived in the nick of time. I head to the big city tomorrow for grocery shopping.
You cannot have enough stamps, cool socks and thumb drives although I am amazed as to how much a thumbdrive holds. I plan to use this one for back-up purposes in case my original grows wings and flies away.
This semester is going to be a bugger. I have a page and a half single spaced list of papers and assignments due. Our class is feeling a little overwhelmed and I am doing my best not to buy into the panic! But all will be well and it will get done.
With the recent freezing weather I slipped and fell on the ice. Steps to the athletic dept. had not been salted. I have one more week of a hinge brace to wear on my left knee and hopefully the soft tissue has healed. Will see. Just very thankful I do not have crutches which was an option. Asking for prayers for healing.
Again, please let the ladies (and gents?) know that I am most appreciative and grateful for your support, love and prayers.